Almonds in Bloom

March 01, 2013

Almond blossom

Photographer: Menashe Davidson
Summary Author: Menashe Davidson

March is considered a spring month in the Northern Hemisphere and in the mid-latitudes is the month when many trees, shrubs and flowers begin to bud and blossom. This picture of an almond tree in bloom was taken in Khirbet Qeiyafa (Elah Fortress), a Biblical site located in the Elah Valley, near the city of Bet Shemesh. This tree grows in the wild and thrives without any irrigation or another horticultural care.

Tu B'Shevat, the 15th of Shevat on the Jewish calendar, illustrates a valuable way of connecting to both nature as well as tradition. Celebrated this year on January 25, it's the day that marks the beginning of the "new year of the trees," when the earliest-blooming trees in the eastern Mediterranean awaken from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit-bearing cycle. The almond (Prunus amygdalus, family Rosaceae), which needs little water, is the first fruit tree to emerge from its winter dormancy. It's considered to be one of the earliest domesticated tree nuts going back 4,000 to 5,000 years to the Early Bronze Age.

The factors that play a role in determining the timing of almond blossoming include the amount of chilling in the winter season (accumulation of hours below 45 F or 7.5 C during the dormant period) and exposure to warm temperatures just before blooming. Effective chilling during November and December, followed by a warm January, normally results in an early bloom. Photo taken on February 16, 2009.

Photo details: Camera Model: NIKON D80; Focal Length: 31.0mm (35mm equivalent: 46mm); Aperture: f/10.0; Exposure Time: 0.0080 s (1/125); ISO equiv: 100.